Residential Accommodation For Nuns & Hostels For Students Can Claim Property Tax Exemption U/s 3(1)(b) of the Kerala Building Tax Act: Supreme Court

first_imgTop StoriesResidential Accommodation For Nuns & Hostels For Students Can Claim Property Tax Exemption U/s 3(1)(b) of the Kerala Building Tax Act: Supreme Court LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK1 March 2021 5:22 AMShare This – xThe Supreme Court held that residential accommodation for nuns and hostel accommodations for students which are attached to various educational institutions can claim property tax exemption under Section 3(1)(b) of the Kerala Building Tax Act, 1975.”If nuns are living in a neighbouring building to a convent only so that they may receive religious instruction there, or if students are living in…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Supreme Court held that residential accommodation for nuns and hostel accommodations for students which are attached to various educational institutions can claim property tax exemption under Section 3(1)(b) of the Kerala Building Tax Act, 1975.”If nuns are living in a neighbouring building to a convent only so that they may receive religious instruction there, or if students are living in a hostel close to the school or college in which they are imparted instruction, it is obvious that the purpose of such residence is not to earn profit but residence that is integrally connected with religious or educational activity.”, the bench headed by Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman observed while upholding a full bench judgment of the Kerala High Court.Section 3(1) (b) of the Act reads thus: Exemptions – (1) Nothing in this Act shall apply to-…b) buildings used principally for religious, charitable or educational purposes or as factories or workshops. In this case, the High Court held that if the activities that are going on in the convent are predominantly religious, then, normally, buildings of the convent used for the said purpose should also qualify for exemption. A Full Bench of the High Court had held that buildings owned by educational institutions for providing hostel accommodation to students qualify for building tax exemption under clause (b) of Section 3(1) of the Act. Assailing these rulings of the High Court, the State contended that a building used principally for religious or educational purposes can only be a building that is used for religious/educational activity and not for activity which has no direct connection with religious/educational activity, such as residential quarters for nuns, priests or hostel accommodation for students. According to it, as no religious/educational activities are carried on at all in the buildings which house nuns and hostel accommodation which houses students, such buildings, not being principally used for religious purposes, cannot possibly be exempt under the Act.”A reading of the provision would show that the object for exempting buildings which are used principally for religious, charitable or educational purposes would be for core religious, charitable or educational activity as well as purposes directly connected with religious activity. One example will suffice to show the difference between a purpose that is directly connected with religious or educational activity and a purpose which is only indirectly connected with such activity. Take a case where, unlike the facts in Civil Appeal No. 202 of 2012, nuns are not residing in a building next to a convent so that they may walk over to the convent for religious instruction. Take a case where the neighbouring building to the convent is let out on rent to any member of the public, and the rent is then utilised only for core religious activity. Can it be said that the letting out at market rent would be connected with religious activity because the rental that is received is ploughed back only into religious activity? Letting out a building for a commercial purpose would lose any rational connection with religious activity. The indirect connection with religious activity being the profits which are ploughed back into religious activity would obviously not suffice to exempt such a building. But if on the other hand, nuns are living in a neighbouring building to a convent only so that they may receive religious instruction there, or if students are living in a hostel close to the school or college in which they are imparted instruction, it is obvious that the purpose of such residence is not to earn profit but residence that is integrally connected with religious or educational activity.”, the bench observed while it disagreed with the contentions raised by the State.Another contention raised by the state was that an exemption provision contained in a fiscal statute must be construed strictly and in the case of doubt or ambiguity must be construed in favour of the State. The state, to contend thus, relied on Commr. of Customs v. Dilip Kumar & Co. (2018) 9 SCC 1 where it was held that when there is ambiguity in exemption notification which is subject to strict interpretation, the benefit of such ambiguity cannot be claimed by the subject/assessee and it must be interpreted in favour of the Revenue. The bench, while rejecting the said contention, observed:It may be noticed that the 5-Judge Bench judgment did not refer to the line of authority which made a distinction between exemption provisions generally and exemption provisions which 30 have a beneficial purpose. We cannot agree with Shri Gupta’s contention that sub-silentio the line of judgments qua beneficial exemptions has been done away with by this 5-Judge Bench. It is well settled that a decision is only an authority for what it decides and not what may logically follow from it (see Quinn v. Leathem [1901] AC 495 as followed in State of Orissa v. Sudhansu Sekhar Misra (1968) 2 SCR 154 at 162,163) 24. This being the case, it is obvious that the beneficial purpose of the exemption contained in Section 3(1)(b) must be given full effect to, the line of authority being applicable to the facts of these cases being the line of authority which deals with beneficial exemptions as opposed to exemptions generally in tax statutes. This being the case, a literal formalistic interpretation of the statute at hand is to be eschewed. We must first ask ourselves what is the object sought to be achieved by the provision, and construe the statute in accord with such object. And on the assumption that any ambiguity arises in such construction, such ambiguity must be in favour of that which is exempted. Consequently, for the reasons given by us, we agree with 31 the conclusions reached by the impugned judgments of the Division Bench and the Full BenchCASE: GOVERNMENT OF KERALA vs. MOTHER SUPERIOR ADORATION CONVENT [CIVIL APPEAL NO. 202 OF 2012]CORAM: Justice RF Nariman and BR GavaiCITATION: LL 2021 SC 121Click here to Read/Download JudgmentRead JudgmentSubscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Storylast_img read more

Chainsaws and the Chattooga

first_imgSteven Foy knows well the magical feeling of paddling down the legendary Chattooga River. A Texas transplant and veteran river guide, Foy returns to the river’s roaring rapids each year. The river’s channels–and all their twists, turns and dips–call to him as they do for so many other whitewater fans, who recognize the Chattooga as one of the best whitewater experiences in the United States.“It has … a special place in the heart of most Southeastern whitewater enthusiasts,” says Foy, who manages river operations for the Nantahala Outdoor Center.It’s no wonder the river garners such affection among whitewater aficionados. Though it starts as little more than a trickle in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, it builds into the Southeast’s premier whitewater experience, delivering breathtaking views and adrenaline-rushing rapids in an unparalleled natural setting. Perhaps most famous as the backdrop for the movie Deliverance, its rock-strewn whitewater offers Class II-IV rapids as the river winds its way through the gorge, culminating with the renowned Five Falls, where five Class IV rapids follow in quick succession.Protected in 1974 under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the Chattooga stretches for 57 miles before joining with the Tallulah River in Lake Tugalo, forming the boundary between Georgia and South Carolina along the way. The U.S. Forest Service manages about 70 percent of the river’s 180,000-acre watershed in the southern Appalachian Mountains, which includes portions of northeastern Georgia, western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina.“Because of that wild and scenic designation and because of the large Forest Service ownership, it has really good water quality and a really intact ecosystem,” said Kevin Colburn of American Whitewater, a non-profit advocacy group based in Cullowhee, N.C. “It just really retains a lot of interesting character.”Logging projects raise concerns about water qualityBut maintaining that character isn’t an easy task. On national forest land, the Forest Service must attempt to balance the needs and desires of competing users, including environmentalists, whitewater rafters, timber companies and anglers. And on private land, the challenges are even greater–with conflicts among different user groups, private landowners, and local and state officials.Another issue: because the Chattooga is fed by many tributaries and small streams, those who want to protect the river have to worry not just about what’s happening in the river itself and nearby land, but also what’s going on upstream.Case in point: Stekoa Creek, one of the Chattooga’s largest tributaries, has been a major source of water pollution in the river for more than 40 years, and things haven’t gotten any better with the river’s wild and scenic status. The Chattooga Conservancy calls Stekoa Creek the single greatest threat to the river’s water quality, noting that the Forest Service has at times warned river users that contact with water below its confluence with the Chattooga River could put them at risk for bacterial skin infections.Local environmental groups are also worried that a large-scale logging and forest management project in Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest would hamper water quality in another tributary, Warwoman Creek. After 10 years of planning, the Forest Service recently released a final project design that incorporated many elements environmentalists had been fighting for, including a one-third reduction in commercial logging, added protections for old-growth forests, the abandonment of a plan to build a mile of new road on steep slopes, plans to reduce erosion on 11 miles of existing roads, and the closure of some existing roads that have been a long-term source of sediment pollution. The final decision–announced last Halloween–is expected to reduce impacts on a rugged and remote area known as Windy Gap as well as significantly improve water quality in the Warwoman watershed.“The Forest Service did a good job of listening to the concerns of the public and responding in a way that leads to a net benefit for water quality in this area, but still allows the Forest Service to do the work they want to do,” said Patrick Hunter, a staff attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center in Asheville, N.C., who represented the environmental groups.Despite this hard-fought victory for local environmentalists, they still remain concerned about timber harvesting and water quality. Only about one-quarter of the Chattooga watershed is protected from logging, including designated roadless areas, the Ellicott Wilderness Area and its “wilderness extension” study areas, and a quarter-mile buffer on either side of the river in the 15,432-acre Chattooga Wild and Scenic River Corridor.Hunter noted that many people do not realize the amount of logging and road-building that takes place on national forest lands, thinking they are protected as public lands in the same way that national parks are. But the Forest Service has a very different mandate than the National Park Service, and that includes not just protecting forest lands but also allowing–and in many cases encouraging–timber production on them as well.Gifford Pinchot, the first chief of the Forest Service, said the agency’s mission was “to provide the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people in the long run.”That has proved to be a difficult–and often controversial–calling.For their part, environmental groups are concerned about the effects of timber harvesting on the Chattooga, particularly from sediment entering the river from roads built to access timber harvesting areas and the accompanying traffic along those roads, including 18-wheel logging trucks and other big machinery. Too much sedimentation can coat river and creek bottoms, impairing insect growth and reproduction. That means not just cloudy water instead of the crystal clear river that epitomizes the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but also less food for fish and the animals (and humans) that rely on them.In the worst case, a logging project can take away not just the trees that are cut down, but also destroy the very essence of a natural area. “For a hiker, where you were once walking through a forest that hasn’t been disturbed, after a lot of these trees have been removed, it’s a much different experience,” Hunter said. “You can feel the impact of man much more up close after these sorts of events.”One way environmental groups and other interested parties can influence timber management near the Chattooga River is by participating in the forest plan revision process. These forest management plans, typically updated every 10-15 years, guide all aspects of the way these public lands are managed, including recreation and timber harvesting.The land and resource management plans for the Sumter and Chattahoochee-Oconee national forests were finalized in 2004 and are not yet up for revision again, but the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests are currently in the process of revising their plan, with a draft environmental impact statement expected to be released by this spring.Nicole Hayler, executive director of the nonprofit Chattooga Conservancy, said her group is hoping to see continued protections for the Ellicott Wilderness extension areas and heightened protections for Terrapin Mountain, which includes the Chattooga’s headwaters. “There’s all these incredible lichens and mosses [up there] to the point where you’re almost afraid to step on anything,” said Hayler, explaining the importance of limiting human foot traffic on Terrapin Mountain.While environmental groups have expressed concerns about timber harvesting in the Chattooga watershed, Forest Service officials emphasized that only a very small fraction of the forest is cut in any given year. In the 530,000-acre Nantahala National Forest, for example, that amounts to about 900-1,000 acres annually–or about 0.002 percent.Mike Wilkins, a district ranger with the Nantahala National Forest, said the agency generally avoids clearcutting, except in cases where large swaths of trees have been negatively impacted by storm events, and that only about half of the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests are currently open to some form of timber management. And he emphasized that all timber sales go through a lengthy, multi-year process that includes input from Forest Service experts–including botanists, archaeologists, foresters and biologists–as well as the general public.“It’s not like we just go out anywhere and start cutting timber,” Wilkins said. “We take an interdisciplinary approach to the land, and we’re letting the public know what we’re thinking about doing from the very beginning.”Forest Service officials also argue that some timber management is necessary to restore the forest to a more natural state, since past policies of fire suppression have created dense stands of white pines with little to no young oak trees or grassy openings. For example, in the Upper Warwoman project area, yellow pine-oak communities are less than half their historic range and just 1 percent of the 12,500-acre project area has young grass and tree habitat essential for deer, wild turkey and ruffled grouse. The Forest Service says five of the seven ecosystems in the project are “highly departed” from their natural state due to a lack of fire.“Those kinds of numbers really highlight the unhealthy condition of the forest as it currently is,” said Holly Krake, a spokeswoman for the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. “An analogy would be, think of any small town with no young children, nobody in middle age, no high school students, no working young adults or young families–a place with everybody being the same age. That would be a pretty unhealthy place.”Krake also noted that the Forest Service uses other tools besides timber harvests to maintain native plants and wildlife in Georgia’s national forests. For example, on the Chattahoochee-Oconee national forests, forest managers treated more than 34,000 acres using prescribed fire in fiscal 2015. That falls in line with previous years, as foresters have treated an average of nearly 30,000 acres each year using prescribed burns over the past decade.“The right fire at the right place at the right time helps maintain healthy forests, communities and watersheds,” Krake wrote in an e-mail.While environmental groups also recognize the importance of fire in healthy forest ecosystems, they disagree with what the Forest Service calls restoration as well as the need for so-called restoration projects that feature timber harvesting. Hunter of the Southern Environmental Law Center noted that past fire suppression isn’t as big of an issue in the wet and humid Southeast as it has been in other national forests, particularly in the dry western states. That said, he acknowledged that many national forests are in an unnatural state currently, thanks to poor management practices in the past.The trick, he said, will be for the Forest Service to address areas that need recovery without causing more damage than what they’re trying to repair. “The sweet spot is for the Forest Service to be able to go in and do that work to improve communities without causing the bad impacts often associated with timber sales, like road building and bringing in heavy equipment and big trucks,” Hunter said. “They need to implement science-based treatments that are beneficial to the environment.”For now, it remains to be seen whether the Forest Service can achieve that goal in the Chattooga watershed. But Hunter and other environmentalists will be watching their efforts closely.Another Threat to the Deliverance RiverStekoa Creek, one of the Chattooga’s largest tributaries, has been a major source of water pollution in the river for more than 40 years, and things haven’t gotten any better with the river’s Wild and Scenic status. The primary source of pollution is raw sewage from the nearby city of Clayton’s sewage collection system, along with poor agricultural practices, failing septic tanks, and dumping. The Chattooga Conservancy calls Stekoa Creek the single greatest threat to the river’s water quality, noting that the Forest Service has at times warned river users that contact with water below its confluence with the Chattooga River could put them at risk for bacterial skin infections.[divider]related articles[/divider]last_img read more

Mesut Ozil’s situation at Arsenal is ‘devastating’ says Ian Wright

first_imgAdvertisement Mesut Ozil has not played a Premier League game since March (Picture: Getty Images)Arteta has insisted that all players are being treated equally and he will be trying to get the best out of Ozil, like the rest of the squad.‘With all the players that we have here, we’re going to try to get the best out of them,’ said the Arsenal manager on Friday.‘We’re going to try to improve them as much as we possibly can and create the right environment for them so that they are happy at the club, because I believe it’s the most important thing for them to perform to the level that we want. ‘After that, obviously in the market there are things that we cannot control. There are things that we can control and let’s try to manage in the best possible way.’Arsenal host West Ham on Saturday and it remains unlikely that Oziil will be involved.AdvertisementAdvertisementMORE: Why Chelsea and Arsenal decided against move for new Liverpool signing Thiago AlcantaraMORE: Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas takes little dig at Arsenal over Houssem Aouar transferFollow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.For more stories like this, check our sport page. Comment Advertisement Ian Wright feels the situation with Mesut Ozil is a real shame (Picture: Getty Images,)Ian Wright believes the ongoing situation with Mesut Ozil at Arsenal is ‘devastating’ as the German continues to be sidelined at the club.The 31-year-old is Arsenal’s highest-earner on £350,000-a-week, but has not played a Premier League game since March as he continues to be frozen out by manager Mikel Arteta.The Gunners have been very keen to move him on, but due to his huge wages they have not been able to find a buyer and Ozil is set to see out the remaining year of his contract.Wright feels the situation is ‘really sad’ because the World Cup winner would be ideal for the first team, but he cannot see the problem being resolved and Ozil reintegrated into the side.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENT‘If you could have got Mesut Ozil onside in this particular team with the way this manager thinks with the intensity that we now have he is literally the perfect player,’ he said on The Kelly and Wrighty Show. ‘But it doesn’t seem like this is going to happen.‘It doesn’t seem like there is (a way back). I was at the ground the other day and he was walking around, he looked happy enough.More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man City‘The confusing thing for me is everybody knows that if you do buy into Arteta’s game plan then you are probably going to get in there.‘I just find it really sad that we haven’t got anybody that can convince him or make Ozil understand that even if you are going to leave…‘At the end of the day he is still paid to be a footballer for that club and so while he is there you want him to do the best he can for them‘Now if his attitude isn’t right in training or whatever and the manager isn’t seeing it, I just find it devastating that we can’t get somebody to make him understand how integral he is to what we could be doing right now.’ Metro Sport ReporterFriday 18 Sep 2020 8:37 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link6.6kShares Mesut Ozil’s situation at Arsenal is ‘devastating’ says Ian Wrightlast_img read more

NN IP finds link between reporting on time and returns

first_imgThis in turn had predictive power for future stock returns, as slower-filing companies measurably underperformed faster-filing firms, according to NN IP.As a potential cause for the connection, Karim Bannouh, senior portfolio manager in NN IP’s European equity team, cited the time it required to make changes to a report, “especially if a company is trying to manipulate how it is perceived, or wants to highlight certain elements”.Another possible reason could be that faster-filing companies can process information more quickly and efficiently, which is positive for business operations, he said.The research also shows the phenomenon is applied across different sectors and regions, making no difference whether companies were large-cap firms or small caps.NN IP said its European equity team was already using the findings in its investment process.The findings point to new possibilities for incorporating sentiment analysis and NLP into investment decisions.The firm said NLP techniques were particularly valuable for investment considerations, such as ESG factors, “as these areas are more subjective and harder to quantify”.NLP is a branch of articial intelligence that helps companies understand, interpret and manipulate human language. Companies that file their annual and quarterly reports faster, command a higher premium than slower-filing firms, research by Dutch asset manager NN Investment Partners has suggested.It shows that by using natural language processing (NLP) as well as sentiment analysis, investors could better locate untapped potential for alpha generation.In collaboration with Bas Peeters, visiting fellow at Amsterdam’s Free University (VU), NN IP’s European equity team used NLP techniques to calculate the tone of report text and the changes between sequential quarterly and annual reports from the same company.They found that a slower filing time – typically just a few days – was linked to more negative phrasing throughout the report and less similarity to the previous one.last_img read more

San Jose OKs ordinance boosting airport safety

first_imgPassengers from Metro Manila disembark at the Antique Airport in San Jose town last week. Mayor Elmer Untaran said the Sangguniang Bayan has approved the Public Safety and Security Ordinance to ensure the safety of aircraft, passengers and residents at the province’s airport. PROVINCE OF ANTIQUE No laser beams or other bright lights shall be directed at an aircraft as it may distract or cause temporary flash blindness to the pilot during the critical phase of the flight such as landing or takeoff.The measure also adopts the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines’ rules and regulations that prohibit the operation of drones over 400 feet above ground level. These shall stay clear of populated areas and there would be no flying at night unless authorized. “The ordinance stipulates prohibited acts such as kite flying within the distance of eight-kilometer radius from the center of the airport,” he said. SAN JOSE, Antique – An ordinance that will ensure safety of aircraft, passengers and residents at the vicinity of the lone airport in this province is expected to take effect in August.Antique Airport – also known as Evelio Javier Airport – is located in this capital town.San Jose town Mayor Elmer Untaran said on Monday the Antique Airport Public Safety and Security Ordinance authored by Councilor Nestor Israel was approved by the Sangguniang Bayan last July 9 and will take effect 15 days after its publication in a local newspaper.center_img “No burning of materials within a 12-kilometer radius from the airport as such activity will lower or cause to lower the visibility in the airport,” Untaran added. Violators will be meted the following fines or penalties: P500 for first offense; P1,000 and four hours of community service for second offense; and P2,500 and six-month to one-year imprisonment at the discretion of the court for third offense.Untaran emphasized the ordinance is necessary considering that the airport has just resumed flights on July 15. Its operations stopped starting last March 16 as part of the enhanced community quarantine orders to curb the spread of coronavirus disease 2019. Philippine Airlines (PAL) flew passengers in this province from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport last July 15 following the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s lifting of travel ban for LSIs.PAL is the only aircraft carrier operating commercial flights in this province so far./PNlast_img read more